Around these parts, sun-dried fruit is pretty much not an option so we kicked off food preservation season by firing up the oven. First to go in were the Italian plums, cracked in half and pitted, so pretty you might think life was a cooking show. Twelve hours later they’d shriveled down but still exuded thick juices. A night’s rest and they were chewy and tangy with plum essence, the skins appealingly crackly. Whether they’re shelf stable remains to be seen. They may not last long enough to find out.

Meantime I jury-rigged a third oven rack to dry a few Glacier tomatoes, a cold weather species that delivers brilliant color but extremely average taste for garden tomatoes. I tossed thick slices with olive oil and sea salt and oven dried for nearly as long as the plums. The tomatoes came out tart and somewhat overdone, a concept that needs tweaking for next time. In any case we’ll keep this batch around for use on pizza — such sacrifice in the name of gastronomic advancement.

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